STATUS REPORT –OCTOBER 2007
Glendon O’Byrne and I continue to be the overall project administrators. Nicholas Burns also is a co-administrator and will concentrate on the Northeast Cluster. A “non-project member,” Terry Barton of World Families Network, has been added as co-administrator to give him access to data he needs to set up a web site for us. This site should be ready soon after you get this. I will notify you when it is ready.
My last status report was dated 2 February 2007, and this one is long overdue. My apologies. In February, I reported that we had 79 members, and we seemed to be on a plateau and not growing. Apparently, that was a temporary lull, since we now number 96. FTDNA has us at 104 members, but the company includes test kits ordered and not returned, plus several people who do not qualify (I informed two people earlier this week that I have to drop them). Our current breakdown is 88 R1b, one R1a, four I1a, and three I1c.
Ours is not a single surname project, nor is it a geographic one. We fall somewhere in-between the two categories. I have grouped some of us into three large clusters that do not appear to be related, at least since the time (circa 1150AD) when surnames were adopted. There appear to be several smaller clusters developing, but until we have perhaps five members that I can group, it might be better to defer assigning a name.
Northwest Cluster – This group now numbers 18 and is our best defined, because its members correspond to Haplogroup R1b1c7. It coincides with Trinity College’s Northwest Irish Modal (Our own NW Modal is just one mutation away from it). David Wilson, the discoverer of Haplogroup R1b1c7 and administrator of the R1b1c7 project, originally thought that this haplogroup originated in Northwest Ireland circa 2000 BC (John McEwan believes it developed much earlier), though recently David has speculated that its origins may have been somewhere in Scotland. We have not yet subdivided the 18 members. The phylogenetic tree chart appears to separate the 14 who have been tested for 37 markers into five lines.
Northeast Cluster – This group began with charter members Bill Byrne and Nic Burns, and was fleshed out by a half dozen samples that Nic collected in Monaghan and Louth. Several others, who were unsure of their roots, have been assigned to this group, which now numbers 10. The Northeast Cluster is a fairly tight group with few mutations separating the majority of its members, thus showing fairly recent origins—maybe 500-600 years to a common ancestor. A more distant Meath branch seems to be fleshing out though. This cluster appears to have had some relationship in the past with other clans in north central Ireland, and we are exploring this.
Leinster Cluster – This group now numbers 20. It was larger, but I temporarily, at least, removed several persons. Please keep in mind that the Leinster Cluster and the Clan O’Byrne of the Wicklows are not necessarily identical. When I made up the Byrne Leinster Modal, I averaged the seven or eight persons who seemed to form the central cluster of a phylogenetic tree chart. I am finding that the Clan O’Byrne probably was more of a geographical group and was not a close-knit sept descendant from a single ancestor. Some that I have removed may later find themselves back in, and vice versa. The clan had not only a senior and a junior branch, but it contained many disparate families whose common ancestor lived centuries ago. As we know, our I1as and I1cs may well be members of the Clan O’Byrne, but of course they cannot be included in the Byrne Leinster Modal.
Recently, we have been experimenting with DYS464 to see if it can be used as a Leinster indicator (Certain other administrators prefer to call it an Irish Sea indicator). Of the eight “Leinsters” tested, six have “ccgg” for 464x (I will spare you the technical details), one tested “cggg” but could have had a ccgg ancestor who mutated backward. And the eighth who tested “cccg” has been removed (temporarily at
least) from the Leinster group. I should add that the two members of the Northeast Cluster who tested for 464x are “cccg” while the sole member of the Northwest Cluster who tested is “cgcc.” In short, “ccgg” may well be an indicator for the Leinster Cluster, though FTDNA is not ready to accept it.
On the phylogenetic tree charts, the Leinster Cluster is fairly well grouped at the 25-marker level, but at 37 markers it is quite dispersed. Common ancestors, therefore, are further back in time than is the ancestor of the Northeast Cluster.
Other Haplogroups and the Unassigned
Other Haplogroups – There is not a heck of a lot I can do about our single R1a, four I1as, and three I1cs. Their best avenue for research is www.Ysearch.org
to investigate other possibly related surnames.
Our R1a, No. 87148, has been tested for 37 markers and matches 35/37 a Berwick and a Bard on Ysearch. They would be worth contacting. He also has seven 23/25 matches. Two of these cite England for their ancestry, one Ireland, one Ulster, and one Scotland.
N1969, who is I1a, has two 65/67 matches, a 42/42 match, and a 37/37 match—all with people named Cole from Northampton, England. This is too much to be coincidental and there surely is a family tie that he should explore with those people.
N2057, an I1a, has been tested for 67 markers but he is not so fortunate. However, he does have a 24/25 with an Anderson who names Northern Ireland as his origins That should be explored.
N16309, also I1a, tested for 25 markers. He is a 24/25 match with two persons—a Hatt of English ancestry and a Day from New Jersey.He should upgrade to the 37-marker level to see if these relationships endure.
70676, an I1a, tested for 37 markers. He is 25/25 with a Locklear of South Carolina and 24/25 with two Coopers. All should be explored.
46826, an I1c, tested for 37 markers, but his nearest match is 21/25 with a Kinney. That is too far away to be related.
62631, an I1c who tested for 37 markers, is 24/25 and 35/37 with the modal for Haplogroup I1b2a1-Isles/Scot. His origins surely are there.
66363, another I1c who tested at the 37 level, is 24/25 and 32/37 with the same Isle/Scot modal. He undoubtedly also is from there.
Unassigned - That leaves us with 40 “unassigned,” but hopefully we can reduce the number during the coming year. We have several small clusters as yet unnamed—one that looks to be Scots, one for the O’Beirne sept of Roscommon, and a third with no certain geographical location. Also, there has to be a Burns/Byrne group in the Cavan area, one down around Co. Clare, and perhaps even one in Co. Mayo (MacConboirne supposedly was anglicized to Burns). There are bound to be other Burns of Scots origins as well, since the name came for the Scottish/English name for a creek, and it is logical to assume that there were plenty of men called “John down by the birne” who became John Birne(s).
Phylogenetic Tree Charts
I sent out a series of charts recently, and I hope they help you understand how to relate to the others—if you do. Please keep in mind that these charts are not infallible. Also, they are three-dimensional, so sometimes the length of the lines is inaccurate. The Genetic Distance reports that you get on your personal pages under YDNA matches are more accurate, and the TMRCAs (Time to the Most Recent Common Ancestor) are state of the art. FTDNA’s experts have figured out the mutation rate for each marker, and this is worked into their TMRCA generation charts.
Testing/Placing New Orders
Everyone is free to order whatever test they want directly from FTDNA, but I should point out that that not every test will benefit every member. For example, there is no point expanding to 67 markers, unless you have a very close match at 37 markers that you wish to check to see if it holds at the higher level. Also, the 464x test is of no use outside of Haplogroup R. Other haplogroups are always gggg. I confess I did not know that until recently when several of our Haplogroup I’s were tested and came back gggg. Feel free to ask me before ordering an advanced test, if you wish.
We have nine members who have only been tested for 12 markers (though one recently ordered an upgrade to 37), and ten who have stopped at 25. There is little I can do with the 12s, and I am working more and more just with the 37s. The 18 of you who are below 37 really should upgrade to that level, if you are serious about genetic genealogy. If the price is a problem, FTDNA will accept installment payments.
One category of testing that many of us have taken is the Single Nucliotide Polymorphism (SNP) that mutates only once in thousands of years, and thus is a more accurate predictor of haplogroups than are the Short Tandem Repeats (STRs, or markers). This is Anthro-Genealogy and not of interest to everyone. There are over 200 known SNPs, but only a few have been tied to haplogroups because it is very expensive to isolate them. There even are some private SNPs tied to certain surnames. The researchers stumble across these inadvertently, because no individual wants to pay the thousands of dollars required to develop one. Still, wouldn’t it be great to determine, say, a Leinster connection via the $79 cost of a SNP test, rather than paying for a 37-marker one. Some SNPs, such as our NW group’s R1b1c7, are valuable because they are geographic (northwest Ireland-lowland Scotland), but FTDNA’s other R1b1c subclades—one through six, and eight—are not especially geographic. EthnoAncestry has tests for subclades nine and ten that are geographic, and FTDNA soon will offer a low-cost upgrade for these (about $20) for those of you who already have tested R1b1c. It is my understanding that to be nine or ten, one should have a 23 at YCA-B. Those of you who, according to my not infallible records, qualify are N2871, N6856, 5074, 30991, 31641, 31883, 31991, 38496, 57152, 58264, and 61640.
I seem to have lost communication with several project members because messages are returned as undeliverable. And sometimes I get a return notice saying that the recipient only accepts messages from people who register with him. I hope I am not being selfish, but with almost 100 members I have to leave it up to you to make sure I am “registered” and to notify me when you email address changes. Unfortunately, this will not reach the three or more who need it.
25 October 2007